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State of Ohio Establishes "Pre-Crime" Registry 761

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the just-in-case-you-want-to-ruin-someone dept.
I*Love*Green*Olives writes to tell us the Toledo Blade is reporting that State officials have rubber-stamped a "civil-registry" that would allow accused sex offenders to be tracked with the sex offender registry even if they have never been convicted of a crime. From the article: "A recently enacted law allows county prosecutors, the state attorney general, or, as a last resort, alleged victims to ask judges to civilly declare someone to be a sex offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful lawsuit. The rules spell out how the untried process would work. It would largely treat a person placed on the civil registry the same way a convicted sex offender is treated under Ohio's so-called Megan's Law."
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State of Ohio Establishes "Pre-Crime" Registry

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  • Worst idea ever. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vistic (556838) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:48PM (#16034971)
    This is so unconstitutional... isn't it? It had better be.

    Now you can just accuse someone and ruin their life?

    What the heck is the court even for, then?
    • by creimer (824291) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:54PM (#16034998) Homepage
      Now you can just accuse someone and ruin their life?

      Why not? It's been happening for years in California.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jamstar7 (694492)
      The court are the ones putting your name in that database. FTFA:

      A recently enacted law allows county prosecutors, the state attorney general, or, as a last resort, alleged victims to ask judges to civilly declare someone to be a sex offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful lawsuit. The rules spell out how the untried process would work. It would largely treat a person placed on the civil registry the same way a convicted sex offender is treated under Ohio's so-called Megan's

    • by garcia (6573) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:55PM (#16035002)
      This is so unconstitutional... isn't it? It had better be.

      So is wiretapping w/o a warrant. But remember, as long as we are fighting terrorists, squashing sex offenders, or expanding the powers of government we're doing something great for this country.

      Keep up the great work Ohio. I'm very disappointed that I moved to a different state.
      • Imo: (Score:5, Informative)

        by Ruff_ilb (769396) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:22PM (#16035111) Homepage
        This is slightly worse than wiretapping w/o a warrant on the constitutional level. There's a name for a law that declares someone guilty of some offense and then punishes them for it without a trial - it's called a bill of attainder, and it's specifically prohibited.

        Of course, the proponents of this law are going to claim that the law doesn't declare them guilty, and doesn't punish them, but they're basically saying that these people are guilt of SOMETHING, otherwise they wouldn't be worth being watched. And, obviously, it's easy to see how being on such a list would be a punishment.
        • Re:Imo: (Score:5, Interesting)

          by spiritraveller (641174) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:38PM (#16035387)
          oh, it's more than just being watched...

          ...the person would be subjected to the same registration and community notification requirements and restrictions on where he could live.

          The restrictions on where you can live requirement is a big issue. Many states have created absurd rules for people on the registries, that basically make it illegal for them to live anywhere near a metropolitan area, because they can't live nearby a church, school, playground, anything.

          In Dekalb County, Georgia, the sheriff said that there are no locations in the county where someone on the registry can legally reside... so those people have to move to the more rural areas. Hope the country-folk like having child molesters next door.

          But I digress, the real deal with this thing is that it takes away a very important liberty interest for at least six years, with what sounds like a very limited procedure. We'll see, but this could turn out to be a violation of due process.

          At any rate, I'm sure there are some spouses in divorce who are looking at this as a golden opportunity.

          • Re:Imo: (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Monday September 04, 2006 @04:39AM (#16036797)
            A civilly declared offender, however, could petition the court to have the person's name removed from the new list after six years if there have been no new problems and the judge believes the person is unlikely to abuse again.


            Sorry, "again"? I thought we were talking about unproven allegations and an inability to get a conviction. I thought that if you weren't convicted you were deemed to be innocent, at least as far as the law's concerned.

            This whole effort smacks of "there's no smoke without fire", and that's a shitty premise to pass a law on. Especially given the number of false allegations of child abuse [wikipedia.org].

            Obviously no-one who abuses children deserves to escape unpunished, but I think that's kind of what we have "due process" for. Assuming the legal system (which has stood us in good stead for the last several hundred years) is still working, no extra loop-holes should be necessary.
        • Although I think that this law is an incredibly bad idea, I'm not sure that it's as obviously unconstitutional (using a very literal interpretation of various aspects of the Constitution) as some people are assuming.

          The prohibition of Bills of Attainder is specifically against things passed by the legislature against specific persons, at least as I understand it; it's a separation-of-powers issue, to keep the legislature from just saying that a particular person is guilty of a crime and punishing them. They
    • Re:Worst idea ever. (Score:5, Informative)

      by SachiCALaw (856692) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:00PM (#16035021)
      It's not entirely clear from the article, and I'm not an Ohio attorney, but depending on what the registry does, it might be ok. The Due Process Clause of the Constitution requires a hearing before a person is deprived of life or liberty, and that hearing must be proportional to deprivation. Obviously, a criminal case gets *more* due process than a civil case, because the potential deprivation of life and liberty is greater.

      In this case, it seems that the civil registry is designed to be very different from a criminal registry, so let us not assume it would deprive civil registrants of the same rights and liberties as criminal registrants. That said, it is still creepy and upsetting, from a civil liberties standpoint, and worth looking at with a very severe eye.
      • by Sage Gaspar (688563) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:21PM (#16035105)
        In this case, it seems that the civil registry is designed to be very different from a criminal registry, so let us not assume it would deprive civil registrants of the same rights and liberties as criminal registrants.

        The issue isn't a right or liberty so much as an extreme black mark on their record. It says their picture, name, and address would be added to a publicly searchable database. Good luck getting a decent job for the next six years. And, oh, the fun when one of your neighbors decides to take a peek and it gets around to everyone in the area. All based on the decision of one judge.

        I mean, what's anyone supposed to do with "by the way, this guy 'might' be a sexual offender" coming from the government? Either you are or you aren't, and if the court can't build a case as per our constitutional legal system, even to civil standards (it says in the article it doesn't require a successful civil or criminal verdict), it can't publish an official "maybe."

        I'm sure someone involved in this process had the best of intentions seeing cases fall apart on technicalities or something, but just... no. This can't be the way to fix it.
      • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:31PM (#16035136) Journal
        The article says the person would have thier picture placed on the internet, labeled as a sex offender and suffer restrictions on were they could live or be at. This sounds like something violating due process. Restricting were someone could reside or even be in attendance is paramount to incarceration. You would need a conviction for that.

        In a way, I'm glad we are doing something about this. Sadly, I'm dissapointed that the efforts seemingly infringe on the very basic freedoms of life liberty and the pursuite of happyness that they are trying to protect for people. This is so much different from the NSA wiretaps or some of the other infringments on freedom we have seen of late. Some people act like there is no different but couldn't be more wrong. In this law, we are singling an indevidual or ondeviduals out, creating a label for them and placing restrictions on thier movment and ability to earn a living. Further more, we are intenting to place this labeling information along with personal identifyable attributes on the internet so to publicly humiliate a person "_never convicted of a crime_". It doesn't bother me that we do it to people who are convicted, the public needs protection from convicted offenders. But just an acusation is going too far.

        I hope ot see this in the courts real soon. I only hope the person getting poped on this and challenging it is actualy inocent. I would have to send money to a legal defense fund for some one who is guilty just to gat some sanity back into the laws. But i can envision a defense fund being made and lots of people funding a fight on this.
      • Once one set of people (eg prisoners held under suspicion of terrorism) are held with no hearing, then it is just a small step to treading on others because they just look perverted. Where does this stop? When all citizens are placed under house arrest because they might be criminals of some sort or other.
      • by skam240 (789197) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:42PM (#16035185)
        wouldn't this be defamation? i would think putting some one who has not been convicted of a sex offence in a data base for sex offenders would fall under the catagory of dafamation.

        i also love this bit from the article...

        A civilly declared offender, however, could petition the court to have the person's name removed from the new list after six years if there have been no new problems and the judge believes the person is unlikely to abuse again

        unlikely to abuse again!? but if they've abused before then why havent they been convicted?

        The article does state that this is an alternative to opening up a one time windoew to bring civil suits againts catholic priests for alleged sexual abuse but this seems like it has massive potential for abuse. even if this is only used for profiling priests it still doesnt address the issue that some of these priest may not have done anything wrong.
    • Now you can just accuse someone and ruin their life?

      cool! i accuse the politicians responsible for this thing of touching me inapropriately.
    • Cathy Fordham [www.cbc.ca] showed how it is done [fact.on.ca], and how the "system" in Ontario is not prepared to reverse itself [www.cbc.ca] when its assumptions are wrong.

      Even with courts providing "balance", this is a difficult area for the rights of accused to be respected. Hopefully Cathy Fordham's excesses were an exception, but the irreversible fallout from this one person's manipulation demonstrates how carefully the justice system must handle such cases.

      As with the death penalty, how many wrongful convictions are we willing to tolerate?
  • by creimer (824291) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:48PM (#16034973) Homepage
    Hell has no fury than a scorned woman and a crazy law.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:51PM (#16034986) Journal
    The concept was offered by Roman Catholic bishops as an alternative to opening a one-time window for the filing of civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse that occurred as long as 35 years ago.
    Basically, instead of allowing all the people molested by Catholic priests to be prosecuted and sent to jail.

    Here's the kicker: "A civilly declared offender, however, could petition the court to have the person's name removed from the new list after six years if there have been no new problems and the judge believes the person is unlikely to abuse again."

    In other words, molesters do not have to go to jail and as long as they behave themselves (or just don't get caught) for 6 years.

    This doesn't strike me as much of a Mea Culpa by the Catholic Church.
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:52PM (#16034989)
    I can see women who hate their husbands going through nasty divorces and blaming their husbands with having raped them. Even if the other grounds for divorce are legitamite, they could be placed on this "potential sex offender" list and be denied jobs left and right. Divorce lawyers rejoice.
  • Witch hunts (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord Fury (977501) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:52PM (#16034994)
    I don't know why everyone is so against this. Other state-sponsored witch hunts have proven effective. There aren't any witches around anymore, are there? And we all know, that no innocent people were hurt either. Right? Right?
  • Slander? Libel? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Freaky Spook (811861) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:54PM (#16034997)
    How would this work, to accuse someone of being a sex offender, you need proof and be able to back your evidence up in court. If you accuse someone and have it published wouldn't the state or the person reporting it be able to be sued for Libel? This has a recipe for disaster and would probably be abused, as much as sex crimes are horrible this is just going to allow innocent people to have their lives ruined.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Tyro (247333) *
      It's anonymous in a lot of states.

      One of my physician colleagues just got an extremely unpleasant visit from Childrens's Services and a bunch of Police Officers for a bogus child abuse complaint... all phoned in nice-and-anonymously to a hotline. No consequences, no recrimination, and no worries for the little scumbag that made that bogus report. It certainly opens the door to plenty of harassment and abuse, particularly for people with a serious beef against you (ex-spouses, ex-gf/bfs, ex-business associ
  • by scenestar (828656) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:56PM (#16035012) Homepage Journal
    You guys bring the pitchforks.

    Time for some good ole mob justice.

    (just kidding, this kind of legislation is really unnerving for eurotrash such as myself)
  • That's not hot. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:01PM (#16035024) Homepage
    As a parent, I cannot begin to say how important the Megan's Law website has been for me. I was shocked to see about 20 convicted child molesters live in my area. I had no idea how prevalent it was.

    Having said that, this new proposal is awful. What the hell happened to "innocent until proven guilty?" Isn't this just an end-run around the law? Of course, as it's being made into law, I guess it's a law to do an end-run around other laws. How awful.

    I hope it doesn't stand. I hope the first person who experiences this sues to overturn it. I hope a huge financial penalty is imposed, and paid by the State, which in turn would hurt the taxpayers of that State. It's the only way to make them wake up and hold those responsible accountable.
    • Re:That's not hot. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekboy642 (799087) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:35PM (#16035153) Journal
      Responding to your first statement.
      Something you probably don't know is what action they were convicted for.
      In some cases, yes, the person committed a heinous crime and was duly punished. In many others, the person got drunk and pissed behind a bush at a party, or decided he and his girlfriend should go get frisky in the backyard.
      To go out on a limb, I'm willing to bet a VAST MAJORITY of the people on the sex offender list are harmless. And that's the very problem. A list such as that should be reserved for those people that, knowing exactly what they did, you don't want to even be on the same planet with them.

      Otherwise...well, this new law is just another advance in our state-sponsored witch-hunts. Remember, it's all to protect you against the Turrists.
  • Um... huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:05PM (#16035037) Homepage

    OK. I'm all for removing sex offenders rights (I'd support mandatory life sentences for child molesters with good proof of guilt), but this is nuts. Let's ignore the constitutional issues here, what about the people who are falsely accused? From what I hear it is hardly uncommon for women to accuse their husbands of things during divorces to try to get custody. Let's add on top of that people who accuse family members they don't get along with, the obvious blackmail possibilities (give me a raise or you go on the list), and this is just idiotic.

    I'm amazed anyone would even have the gaul to propose this kind of thing, let alone try to actually pass it.

  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:07PM (#16035045)
    Another issue to get the liberals and conservatives working together to further erode civil rights. Liberals (feminists) have long hated that you have to actually be convicted of a crime (as in, evidence, facts, deliberation) before being considered guilty of rape. They refuse to admit that any woman would lie, ever, about this subject, so of course you're guilty, and the trial only "victimizes her all over again." Hence "victim's rights," etc.

    And since the subject is sex, which conservatives consider icky and horrible unless it's to your spouse (someone of a government-approved gender), you're guilty to them, too. Conservatives aren't going to come to the defense of an "accused sex offender," and liberals don't want to "victimize the victim again" by giving you a trial, so you're just guilty. So if you're accused by anyone, you might as well go out and rape an orphan, because you're going to jail for it anyway.

  • by QuickFox (311231) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:10PM (#16035057)
    This is your loving Government, taking yet another step toward Total Security and Safety. To this end we're creating, for each and every one of our beloved citizens, the Perfect Padded Cell.

    All we want in return is your Freedom.

    Remember, the Terrorists hate our Freedom. We'll take it away, step by step, until there's nothing left for them to hate.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:12PM (#16035064) Homepage

    The potential for abuse of this law is so insanely bizarre it amazes anyone growing up in America would even suggest it.

    Sadly, things have changed a lot in the America I grew up in. It's really not the same place.

  • The war of words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ignorant Aardvark (632408) <cydeweys@gmCOWail.com minus herbivore> on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:12PM (#16035066) Homepage Journal
    As always it's a war of words in shaping the public's perception. And calling it a "Pre-Crime Registry" is the absolute best choice of words we could go for. This term from Phillip K. Dick just sounds incredibly Orwellian. Bravo on whoever came up with this name.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:24PM (#16035116)
    The actual text of the bill, found here - http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=12 6_SB_17 [state.oh.us] shows it to be a lot less scary than the alarmist article says. What it actually reads is that those accused of sex crime but have passed the statute of limitations will have to register if a court finds a preponderance of evidence that that person is guilty. i.e. a person who otherwise would have been convicted but was able to wait out the 20 years or whatever won't go to jail but will have to register.
    • by gilroy (155262) on Monday September 04, 2006 @01:03AM (#16035979) Homepage Journal
      Do you have any clue what "statute of limitations" even means? No matter how you slice it, this boils down to gotcha justice: We "know" you're guilty but these pesky constitutional or staturoty restrictions keep gumming up the works. But we're gonna "get" you, by God!

      It's still an attempt to punish people for a crime of which the State is not otherwise able to convict them. It's wrong, pure and simple. Being put on an emotionally-charged list (such as a sex offender list) is not something that should be treated casually, by administrative fiat.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NereusRen (811533)

      those accused of sex crime but have passed the statute of limitations will have to register if a court finds a preponderance of evidence that that person is guilty. i.e. a person who otherwise would have been convicted

      Whoa, slow down there fella. Do you know the difference between civil and criminal court? You're mixing and matching teminology.

      In civil court, the winner is the one with the "preponderance of evidence" on their side, because it's citizen v. citizen and one of them has to win. It's a very low

  • This is BULL SHIT!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by AriaStar (964558) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:45PM (#16035194) Journal
    I have a friend with a clean criminal record who was accused of rape when he was 15. The girl herself even said it wasn't him! His record is CLEAN, and yet he is on Megan's List as a registered sex offender for a rape the court determined he did not commit. Does anyone have any idea how this affects someone's life, to be treated as a criminal for a crime not committed? We are supposed to have something in this damned country called civil rights and the right to a trial by jury. Allowing a judge to "civilly declare someone to be a sex offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful lawsuit" undermines the criminal system. If you can be declared a criminal without a trial or successful lawsuit (indicates that there was a lawsuit that was UNsuccessful), why the hell not go ahead and commit a crime? If you can be punished for it anyway....

    Ohio already treats men like shit, especially fathers, and I can guarantee you that the majority of false accused will continue to be men. I am a woman on the board of directors of an internation men's rights organization specialising in fathers' rights, and I can see the effect that this will have on more than just the accused. Women already routinely accuse men of sex crimes to get sole custody of children. If they can now be registered as sex offenders based solely on accussations....

    A form of this has been happening in California for many years, but now that one state has enacted it as a law will have a domino effect as other states follow suit. This is a system of abuse that slaughters our Consitutional rights that are supposed to be guaranteed.

    Wait, rights? I forgot, WE ALREADY FUCKING LOST THOSE!!
  • by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:49PM (#16035210) Journal
    If there is enough evidence for a "civil registry" that a person is a sex offender then why isn't there enough evidence to proceed to trial or for a civil suit? It sounds like Ohio simply wants to lower the bar on burden of proof to a case of "he says, she says". This system sounds utterly ripe for abuse and mismanagement. Why is it that people are trying to find ways around the justice system that we've established after nearly 200 years of jurisprudence? It can't be that difficult to convict suspected child molesters when the evidence is there. Our system of justice has grown out of almost 2000 years of fine tuning. If you don't have the evidence to convict someone or file a civil suit then maybe it's not there to begin with.

    On a related note, the Supreme Court of Canada decided a case this year of a woman studying to be a social worker in university that was falsly accused of being a child molester after her professor became "suspicious" of a paper she submitted on juvenile sex offenders that contained an appendix of graphic accounts of child molestation written in the first person. The professor felt that the first person narrative of the appendix constituted an admission of guilt to child molestation and contacted the program director who forwarded the appendix to Child Protection Services and the RCMP. Without going into the whole sordid story, suffice to say that the young lady was red flagged by CPS and the RCMP, dropped out of the social workers study she was undertaking on advice from the university (because she was red flagged, but the university did not tell her that), went almost three years without knowing she was a suspected child molester and upon discovering that she had a file that was red flagged, filed suit against the university. Up to this point absolutely no investigation had taken place. NONE. Just a suspicion of guilt from a professor at a university without any evidence of any kind. A jury found in her favor and she was awarded a large sum. The university appealed and won, and the young lady then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. By a miracle the SCOC took the case and found unanimously in her favor, establishing an important precedent. The university eventually did apologize, but there was outrage across Canada that this incident even occured. False accusations can and do happen.
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:51PM (#16035221) Journal
    Around where I live in Western PA(close to Ohio), there is a scheme where women find a rich man, sleep with him then accuse him of rape. They normally settle out of court for good money for the woman. Sometimes the woman is also under the age of 18 which makes it a double strike against the man. Sometimes the woman is a prostitute being pimped to a buisness man. Sometimes the woman never even sleeps with the guy, but just has evidence she was there with him on that night. I think if the accused get thrown in with the guilty, this scam is only just going to get bigger.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:22PM (#16035323)
    Clicking on the submitters name take you to a pro-pedophile site where he is a contributor.

    This was the 1st quote worthy gem I found.

    Lesson: Consider the source.

    "
    Pedophile means child-lover. (Greek paidos, "child" + philia, "love, affinity"). If you hate pedophiles, you hate children too.
    "
  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:24PM (#16035328) Homepage
    ...gets accused of some sort of sexual misconduct because the wife wants to keep the kids. (You pick the reasons) But it's so frequent and common, that it's virtually expected that the wife will claim some sort of sex issue and children in a divorce case. A majority of the accusations disappear due to lack of evidence or evidence to the contrary. But this is... really bad news for men everywhere.

    These days, about the same time they take little girls asside in elementary school to explain about periods and stuff, I'm thinking they should take the little boys and explain to them how dangerous the game is getting for them...
  • the ACLU (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adrianmonk (890071) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @11:29PM (#16035603)

    Someone else already mentioned that the ACLU is going to jump on this like white on rice, and they're probably right. In fact, just about every time some totally apeshit crap like this happens, the ACLU is right there, providing free legal help to someone, and 99% of the time, at least in my opinion, the ACLU is helping out the right side. Along the same lines, somewhat recently a friend of a friend was arrested for walking too near a local dam (terrorism, you know), which is patently absurd. I suggested to my friend that she should tell her friend (the one who is arrested) to call the ACLU. I didn't even have to think about it; I'm sure they would gladly represent her for free.

    All of this got me thinking: when is the last time I gave money to support the ACLU? Never. Granted, last several years haven't been too great for me financially, but this year, I could afford to give something. And I ought to, because as far as I can tell, the ACLU is serving a vital purpose, for free, and I've never helped them out with that. Which is silly.

    So, the point of posting this? It's just in case someone else feels the same way. Maybe I can give them a few bucks and motivate 1 or 2 other people to do the same. It seems like a worthwhile thing to do.

  • by E++99 (880734) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @11:52PM (#16035681) Homepage
    Fortunately, today we have four slam-dunk votes against this law on the Supreme Court (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito). Why? Because the Constitution contains the words "No person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" and the mandade incorporated in our law from English commonlaw for the presumption of innocence. And this is exactly what those two concepts speak to (and have always spoken to). And then there are five votes from Dianne Feinstein's kind of judges -- those who take the approach that the meaning of the words of the Constitution only take form based upon whom the judge happens to feel greater compassion for at the moment. In this case it could be close, being between a person being punished without conviction and the potentiality of some child getting molested. Fortunately, only one of their votes is required.

    This is why it's so important to have a strict constructionist Court. The government is not a legitimate government if its laws are not its laws.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Are you fucking kidding me? Four "slam-dunk" "strict constructionist" votes? Now don't get me wrong, I am ALL ABOUT strict construction. I am a black letter hardline "you will follow the Constitution to the letter or I will cut your fucking nuts off" kind of guy.

      Scalia is a "strict constructionist" up until he's ruling on the torture of "terrorists" or eminent domain for money grubbing corporate fuckwads. Thomas is probably our best judge but he's still an ass and still has plenty of his own pet issues wher
  • judicial review? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gsn (989808) on Monday September 04, 2006 @12:03AM (#16035709)
    This "preponderance of evidence" is denying people due legal process. They haven't been convicted presumably because of the statute of limitations and yet are being declared sex offenders. Until you have convicted someone they are innocent and like it or not deserve all their constituional rights. I'm rather uncomfortable with retrying people in a civil court after being found innocent by a criminal court. The lower standards in civil courts make me uncomfortable in general. Heck even in criminal courts with their stricter standard of evidence there are mistakes where an innocent person is falsely convicted, even in some cases put on death row. A preponderance of evidence is just begging for trouble. I'd love it if someone under this new law (if it doesn't get stricken down) can get through siz years and appeal and have his name removed and then charge the state with unecessary harrasment.

    Also you might read about sex offender laws in Kentucky. [enquirer.com] It was an interesting read from last month about a law restricting sex offenders from living within a 1000 feet of a school. I think it has a double jeopardy feel about it. The ACLU is on this one - the Ohio ACLU seems asleep on this latest development though.

    A lot of posters have said this is just politicians crying "Won't someone please think about the children" but its not just politicians wanting to be seen as being tough but also the parents - if you read the article theres a feeling that "Sorry these laws are unfair but you shouldn't have done it." I dont think laws like this will ever go away as long as there are people who clamor "Keep us safe from terrorists/sex offenders/communists/atheists/witches/(boogey man) even if that deprives some of us of our rights."

    I hope this law is found uncostituional but the solution is not passing laws and then having the ACLU fight for ages to get it declared unconstituional - its not passing them in the first place. I'm beginning to believe it my be worth having all bills pass through some intesive judicial review (no veto just a look over and a rubber stamp yes or a memo saying look at these bits a bit more) BEFORE actually being signed into law. This ought to be a much shorter proess than fighting the laws after they are passed. There is so much bad publicty to be had from opposing populist laws that its worth having another branch thats existence is mandated by the constituion be able to look at these laws and say "er... hold one one second."
  • by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me&hotmail,com> on Monday September 04, 2006 @12:55AM (#16035933) Homepage Journal
    Years ago I ran into a friend of mine I hadn't seen in years. We got to talking and catching up. I'd known he had gone through a bad divorce but didn't know the details. Seems he left his wife at her request, moved in with a best friend during the seperation, and then finally got the divorce - only to be kicked out by his friend and find out that HE was the one she had been sleeping with..

    He had a child with that woman, even did a paternity test to be sure it was his after the divorce. Life moved on and he found a good woman who had a daugher from a previous marriage. So far so good, she operated a daycare business out of their new home - he worked for a Govt. agency. One day while they had his son for visitation the new girlfriend came upon the boy and her daugher playing a bit of "doctor". Alarmed that his young child would have such ideas he called in child protective services to have an investigation done. The day after the investigation was over with no wrongdoing found he had an officer visit his doorstep to deliver "papers" in a not so subtle manner. This in front of the folks picking up kids for daycare. The papers? Seems HE was being accused of molesting his son by the ex wife! Within a week the daycare business was toast, no one would dare take a chance with their kid right? An investigation ensued and like the previous investigation nothing was found - tit for tat right?

    Guess who is now on a sex offender watch list.. Yup, he was! Apparently not one of those "offical" ones run by the Govt but some other - he had no trouble fidning it online after being told. I'm not sure how they worded it to avoid being nailed for slander but sure enough he couldn't get off of it - heh like an RBL! It didn't matter that he had been cleared, these zealots seemed to be keeping his name "just in case" because after all he's been accused right? Mind you this guy holds a top secret clearance that required a regular polygraph to retain and still retained when we last spoke a few years ago. The wife? Well, he didn't levy a specific accusation like she did, just a concern that was checked out by social services. She and the ex best friend aren't on any lists as a result.

    Now I understand that parents today want to protect their kids (as did my parents) and that the serious offenders have a huge recidivism rate but does it make sense to put people on lists like this at the drop of a hat? That simply accusing someone is enough to ruin them? To make them so easily found that you can even find their homes on Google Maps? Ya, some are animals but do we strip them of all rights along with lesser offenders? When it's apparently so easy to get on the list? Some kid plays grab-ass in high school one day and gets branded for life - is that okay?

    It used to be that sexual harrassment charges were what you had to worry about killing your career and life but wow this is ALOT worse. It's really scary just how over the edge our society seems to have gone. Where does it end? Have things gotten worse since I was a kid or has society just gotten way more paranoid?
  • by ThatDamnMurphyGuy (109869) on Monday September 04, 2006 @09:26AM (#16037617) Homepage
    I hate shit like this. This is one of those topics that flips my rant bit quite harshly. I'm fine with putting Child Sexual Predators on a list.
    Fine. Parents want to know where they live. Fine. People want to keep them away from schools. Fine.

    But for the love of all that is reasonable, every fucking state in the nation needs to properly define what a Sexual Offender is. Everyone sees a name on a Sexual Offender list and assumes every person on it is a child molster. That that case of the guy who stalked and murdered two people in Maine last year that were on a list. One WAS a child predator. The other was 18 and banged his under age girlfriend and the parents caused a ruckass. That guy had no business being on that list. Hell, in some states, getting busted for public urination w/ your johnson hanging get's you on the Sexual Offenders list.

    This bill and my retarded state just goes to prove my point. You're 30, poked your 16yo gf when you were 18. YOu got busted showing your dick in public while taking a piss on a drunk night. You don't deserve to be on this list, and harrased like a criminal because some asshat can't make understand the difference between sexual offenders, sexual predators, and sexual child predators.

    Rant mode off.

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